You probably didn’t choose your new job in facilities management—chances are, it chose you. Maybe you were working in a job you thought would be a stepping stone, but you found yourself getting more involved in various functions and loving the challenge.
Perhaps a position opened up and someone recommended you. Or you happened to read a job description that sounded a lot like your previous experience.
However you arrived, you’re excited to be here and eager to make the most of this new opportunity. And your first few months on the job are crucial. Here are five things you should do in the first 90 days to set yourself up for success in your new facilities management position.
Your First 90 Days In Facilities Management: 5 Ways to Succeed
- Define What Success Looks Like
- Build The Right Relationships
- Evaluate Current Processes and Technology
- Identify Quick Wins
- Report On Your Progress and What’s Next
1. Define What Success Looks Like
There’s a very important question you should ask even before you start your new job: How do you define success in this role?
Your manager should be able to articulate that at least in general terms during the interview. To get more specifics, you’ll have to ask the right questions and listen closely during your first few weeks.
A few good follow-up questions to ask:
- What are the greatest challenges facing our workplace today?
- In what way do our workplace design and workplace technology contribute to those challenges?
- Where are our greatest opportunities to reduce our real estate and facilities management costs?
- How can we translate these challenges and opportunities into concrete goals?
- What facilities management metrics should we measure to help us reach those goals?
While your manager and the rest of the executive team are likely best suited to helping you answer some of these questions, they shouldn’t be your only source of information. In these first few weeks, your mission is to talk with as many people as you can and learn as much as you can about the company’s inner workings. You might not know much about IT, but make it a point to introduce yourself to the IT director—there’s a good chance his work will intersect with yours. And make sure you have conversations with individual employees. As a facilities manager, it’s your job to support them and contribute to the best possible employee experience. Think of them as your customers—although the customer may not always be right, they always need to feel validated and know their voices will be heard.
2. Build The Right Relationships
As you get to know your new workforce, you’ll begin to recognize your allies and perhaps even some detractors. You might find the HR director has been pushing for a new workplace design for several years now, but the CRO is pushing back hard because of budget concerns.
You’re not going to win that battle in your first 90 days, but you can start to build a relationship with both of them. Get to know more about them on a personal level. Find out more about their work history, their communication style and their interests outside of work. Take advantage of every opportunity to build the relationships that will create the foundation for your success. Don’t skip the office happy hour because you feel overwhelmed with your new workload. And don’t make a habit of eating alone at your desk, no matter how tempting.
3. Evaluate Current Processes and Workplace Technology
Now that you know the general lay of the land a little better, it’s time to get a closer look at the processes and technology that power your workplace. For instance:
- How efficient is your current approach to handling service requests?
- How are you measuring space utilization?
- Are your asset records compliant with the new FASB lease accounting standards?
- How often do you have to rearrange workspaces to accommodate new employees? Is there a better way to manage those moves?
- Do employees have an easy way to find and reserve rooms, request service, and receive mail or visitors via a mobile workplace app?
- How are you gathering data about how employees interact with the workplace? Could you benefit from workplace management software and/or IoT sensors?
As you look into these elements, you might find a workplace technology upgrade is long overdue. Just make sure if you’re going to recommend a solution, you’re doing it for the right reasons—and not just because it looks impressive.
4. Identify Quick Wins
These days, facilities managers are under more pressure than ever. It’s not enough to fulfill your basic responsibilities. You need to make your mark and prove your worth.
Go back to the challenges and opportunities you identified earlier and determine which ones can have the most impact in a short amount of time. For instance, could you move two smaller departments onto one floor to reduce maintenance costs? Identify a federal rebate for installing energy-efficient lighting in the main office?
Now is the time to get it done!
5. Report On Your Progress and What’s Next
As your first 90 days is winding down, it’s time to look back at what you’ve accomplished so far and what your top priorities will be moving forward.
If you use an IWMS software that has dashboards you can set up to show key metrics, this will be the easiest part of your first few months.
Sharing these early successes with your management team may seem like bragging, but they’ll appreciate the transparency. And it will go a long way toward making a good first impression.
The Key to Success: Never Stop Learning
Facilities management is an exciting field that’s constantly evolving. It’s moved beyond buildings and has become much more about managing people, technology and processes. The ability to work remotely anytime, anywhere has redefined the traditional 9-5 workday and traditional offices. Employees expect more flexibility in their workplace, and managers expect facilities managers to be more involved in business strategy and operations. To succeed in this field, you have to stay agile and curious. A facility management software can help get there quicker and more easily.
Join a local chapter of the IFMA, or sign up to attend one of the many facilities management conferences hosted throughout the country.
Take time to learn something new each day, whether it’s by reading blogs about workplace management or listening to podcasts for workplace leaders.
Never stop learning and trying new things, and you’ll be sure to find success in this field—no matter how little experience you had when you got here.